Manuel Cuesta Morúa

* 1962

  • “In fact, because of that repression, I assumed a certain strategy, because in the end for me almost all the repression in Cuba is a psychological one. Well, regime did not imprison me, it unjustly condemned many others. But fundamentally, the repression is of the psychological type. What psychological repression means, is to destroy the reprisal of its entire physical, mental and moral interior. So that the person becomes a wink and does one of two things: either leave the dissidence or leave the country, which is another way to leave the dissidence. That makes it, they are basically marking profiles. There came a time, I remember when I decided, that I'm not going to report being arrested, because that's exactly what they want.”

  • “An independent candidate in Guantanamo, that the Government let win and that at the end does not solve problem, neither with the sugar nor the bread nor the school nor the health of the inhabitants of the community, people and their community, look, this didn't work either. In fact, that's why we changed the strategy. I remember when in Cuba they did not let anyone win. What we were trying to achieve was to settle down the legitimacy of the elections, so that people know that they can choose an independent candidate. Firstly, we wanted this process to become a new common process. It was not possible for a significant number of inhabitants to support our initiative, and it was clear that it was not going to happen, so we were looking for the recognition of the plurality. In order to settle legitimacy and that each citizen in the community could say: ´Look, I want to be a delegate, I want to be the President of the National Assembly, I want to be the Governor of the city or the Governor of the province, I want to be the President of Cuba. And it is a gradual process established based on the support of all citizens. That is why I say that the initiative ´Other 18´ (a political initiative in order to settle free elections) was not exactly fiasco from the perspective that we think about it. It is clear, that other may perceive it a defeat.”

  • “It (socioeconomical crisis in the 1990´s is called special period) is the continuity of 1986. The special period of 1991 has its political background in the erroneous political strategy in 1986 and its rectification, they kept this antique tendency, deepening its defaults, with a social impact. It is the attempt to reduce to minimize the option of rectifying its course, although it was within so called socialism, real socialism. Exactly at this moment, Cuba lost the opportunity to resume the correct direction, the one that had been abandoned, the one that was not taken in the year 1986, when Fidel Castro sent the clear message, that it was not going to happen. And there began the special period, the strategic shortage, rooting in the idea of the 1986, which resulted in the shortage of merchandise and food in 1991. And suddenly overnight, Cuba lacked everything.”

  • “Here I was a part of the exploitation, of child labour. All of us with this kind of scholarship were twelve or thirteen years old and we were working on the citrus plantations, we had to meet the daily goals just as the other adult workers. We grew and harvested mandarins, oranges and strawberries. No one ever considers this at all; so when someone tells me, that education was free back then, I say I paid for it myself! All my second grade and my pre-university degree - I paid for my education, not my father. And this is important, I insist with all my vehemence and with all the conviction, I was the one paying for my own education. Picking millions of boxes of grapefruits, oranges, tangerines or strawberries for export, because they told us that it was for exportation. I worked like that six years. My education was paid by me, it was not at all paid by my father.”

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    Cuba, 04.07.2019

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What counts is the word, not the violence

Manuel Cuesta Morúa (en)
Manuel Cuesta Morúa (en)
photo: Post Bellum

Manuel Cuesta Morúa was born on December 31, 1962, in Havana. Currently, he belongs to the most important Cuban political opponents of the country. He studied History, Political Science, and International Relations at the University of Havana. In 1991, he joined the group “Cuban Democratic Socialist Current” [Corriente Socialista Democrática Cubana], and in 1996, he was named General Secretary. In 2002, he founded “Progressist Arc” [Arco Progresista], an organization that unites the socio-democratic groups in Cuba and abroad. One of the initiatives of the “Progressive Arc” is “Platform Other 18” [Otro 18], which supported independent candidates in the 2018 elections in Cuba after Raúl Castro announced his abandonment of the presidency. Nowadays, Manuel continues in his activities on electoral reform and support of citizen platforms. He resides in Havana.